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Top 10 Controversial Scenes In PG Movies

VO: Matthew Wende WRITTEN BY: Johnny Reynolds
Written by Johnnny Reynolds PG movies stride to be pretty white bread, but occasionally they push the limits in ways that stir controversy in their viewers! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Scenes from PG Movies that Caused Controversy! But what will take the top spot on our list? Will it be from Mommie Dearest, Watership Down, or Poltergeist? Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: Big thanks to DressCodeCentral for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Controversial+Scenes+in+PG+Movies

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Can you believe that you watched these as a kid? Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Controversial Scenes in PG Movies.

For this list, we’re looking at the most unexpected and inappropriate moments from PG movies. The movies themselves don’t have to be controversial, but these specific scenes are definitely disturbing. And because of their unpleasant nature, viewer discretion is advised.

#10: Masturbation Implication

“Shrek” (2001)

This animated fantasy comedy took the world by storm when it was first released in 2001. Part of what made it such a hit was that it was a kid’s movie adults could also enjoy, thanks to some rather risqué jokes. But this particular moment was more than a little suggestive. As Lord Farquaad lies in bed, he tells the Magic Mirror to replay footage of Princess Fiona over and over again. While the kids may think he’s obsessed, take a good look at the situation. He’s in bed, shirtless, drinking a martini; the disgusted look on the mirror’s face really says it all: the Lord is about to apply a little self-love.

#9: Jessica Rabbit’s Introduction

“Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (1988)

Hey, don’t blame her... she’s just drawn that way. When this animated/live-action hybrid debuted, it garnered attention for many jokes and themes that weren’t suitable for younger audiences. But none drew as much controversy as the oversexualized Jessica Rabbit. As the wife of the titular Roger, one would expect Jessica to also be a rabbit. The filmmakers cleverly ran with that assumption and the look of surprise on our hero’s face matched our own when she stepped onto the screen. While her design leads to some smart twists on the femme fatale trope, we can’t imagine parents were too thrilled taking their kids to see this one.

#8: The Boat Ride

“Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (1971)

Released in the early ‘70s, this adaptation of the popular Roald Dahl book quickly established itself as a classic kids’ film. The plot, which involves ill-behaved children being dispatched in different rooms of the factory, is already kinda dark. But there’s one scene in particular that sticks out as being more than a little unsettling. Early on, the group embarks on a fast-paced and nightmarish boat ride where they are subjected to gruesome images. These images include what appears to be a giant worm slithering over a woman’s face and a chicken getting decapitated. If that wasn’t bad enough, Wonka also begins to sing a disturbing song that soon evolves into a shrieks. Yikes.

#7: The Seduction Scene

“Howard the Duck” (1986)

To be fair, there are a lot of issues with this film. The plot focuses on an anthropomorphic duck that must save Earth from an alien invasion. It doesn’t get more ‘80s than that! But the film was a critical and commercial bomb thanks to its infantile humor and bland characters. So, it says quite a lot that one of the only things most people remember about this flop-turned-cult classic is a scene in which a human woman attempts to seduce our titular duck hero. Yes, you heard that right. While you can tell the filmmakers were trying to play the scene off as funny, it just comes off as weird and unnatural.

#6: Ray’s Dream

“Ghostbusters” (1984)

It’s totally understandable to dream about your work, but this is a bit much. Are you seeing the trend? A lot of ‘80s comedies blurred the line between funny and racy. In this hilarious classic, three scientists hit it big when they discover that ghosts have begun to roam NYC and they set up an extermination business. During a montage of the group’s success, Dan Aykroyd’s Ray dreams of being visited by a beautiful ghost hovering above him. The ghost disappears, unzipping Ray’s fly at the same time, and his expression is absolutely priceless. A suggestive fellatio joke in a PG movie. Who would've thought?

#5: Quint’s Death

“Jaws” (1975)

Steven Spielberg’s classic thriller is known for being a real high-anxiety terror of a film. And yet somehow, it got a PG rating. We see a number of violent deaths at the teeth of our shark, but they’re tame compared to how Quint goes out. From a storytelling perspective, it makes sense that the most violent death would take place last and happen to one of the characters we know best. However, that didn’t make it any less shocking to audiences. This scene is one of the reasons Jaws is now cemented in pop culture history. We guess that’s worth a few scarred kids.

#4: Human Sacrifice

“Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” (1984)

This wasn’t the first time this franchise had included something controversial, but in this sequel, it really felt like they were trying to top the original in every aspect. This scene, in which Indy & co. watch a human sacrifice, offended just about everyone. Not only did this moment (and most of the film) draw criticism for the way it depicted Indian people and Hinduism, but it also helped lead to the creation of the PG-13 rating. Imagine making a movie so violent for younger viewers that the entire rating system needed to be reworked. We’d be impressed if we weren’t so grossed out.

#3: All of It

“Watership Down” (1978)

How controversial could a movie about bunnies be? Well if it’s a violently fantastical retelling of their place on the food chain… pretty controversial then. Since the film is animated, many parents likely showed it to their children expecting a family-friendly adventure. But that isn’t what they got. The plot follows a group of rabbits as they try to find a new home after one of them has an apocalyptic vision. On their adventure, they meet many deceptive predators and even a few disturbing bunnies. As real rabbits are associated with cuteness, it must have come as quite a shock to see them in terrifying (and sometimes gruesome) situations. If only parents had read the book first.

#2: Face Peel

“Poltergeist” (1982)

In all honesty, you could point to multiple scenes in this classic horror movie that are wildly inappropriate for a PG movie. Remember the clown doll? When a family moves into a new house, they soon discover that it is haunted. They begin to experience all manner of strange and terrifying occurrences. But none is more upsetting than the scene where one character seemingly peels his own face off in front of a mirror. The practical special effects make it all the more unsettling. Released before “Temple of Doom,” this film predates the creation of the PG-13 rating, so many scenes got past the MPAA. There’s no way it would be rated PG today though.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

The F-Bomb

“Beetlejuice” (1988)


“Airplane!” (1980)

#1: No Wire Hangers

“Mommie Dearest” (1981)

How could child abuse not claim the top spot? Based on an autobiography by Christine Crawford, the film tells the story of actress Joan Crawford and her alleged foul treatment of her adopted children. Throughout the course of the movie, Crawford torments her children with various forms of abuse and humiliation. But none is more notorious than the scene in which she finds her daughter’s dresses on wire hangers in the closet. She then wakes up her daughter by screaming, trashing her room, and beating her severely with one of the hangers. Though this scene likely made child viewers appreciate more the parents they wound up with, it probably also left them traumatized.


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